September 12, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Deploys National Guard as Hurricane Lee Continues to Move North

Governor Hochul Deploys National Guard as Hurricane Lee Continues to Move North

State Agencies Prepared to Respond as Storm May Cause Potentially Dangerous Conditions in Coastal Areas Such as High Surf, Flooding, Rip Currents and Beach Erosion

New Yorkers Urged to Monitor Forecast This Week and Take Time to Prepare Should the Storm Shift Further West, Storm Not Currently Projected to Hit New York But Long-Range Coastal Effects Remain Possible

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the deployment of 50 soldiers from the New York National Guard to begin preparations on Long Island as Hurricane Lee continues to move northwest and strengthen in the Atlantic Ocean. The deployment comes as state agencies prepare for a hurricane that could cause dangerous high surf, rip currents, coastal flooding, and beach erosion along parts of the east coast later this week as it moves north. While the final path of the storm is still unclear, Governor Hochul is urging New Yorkers to closely monitor the storm’s development this week and ensure they are taking the appropriate steps to keep their households safe, if it ends up impacting New York State.

“A major hurricane is currently churning in the Atlantic and we are keeping a close eye on this storm because it’s too early to predict what this potentially dangerous weather system will do,” Governor Hochul said. “Out of an abundance of caution, I have deployed the National Guard and directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets and be ready to respond to local requests for assistance. New Yorkers in coastal areas should watch the forecast and be ready to act, if necessary, to stay safe.”

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “While the final path of Hurricane Lee is still undetermined, preparations are already underway to help protect New York against any impacts the storm may deliver. As the forecast continues to be refined in the coming days, New Yorkers should closely follow these developments and begin taking the steps necessary for keeping themselves and their households safe.”

As of Tuesday morning, Lee was located north of Puerto Rico and east of the Bahamas as a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds close to 115 miles per hour. The hurricane is moving northwest and forecast to turn north in the next two days. While the National Hurricane Center does not forecast Lee to have a direct impact on New York State, dangerous surf and rip currents are forecast to impact most of the east coast this coming week, including the potential for beach flooding and erosion in high-risk spots along New York’s coastlines.

For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at alerts.weather.gov. New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for NY Alert, the State's free emergency alert system, at alert.ny.gov. County-by-county emergency information can be pushed by text or email.

State Agency Preparations

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' State Watch Center is monitoring weather and travel conditions, and coordinating any response needs with local governments. All of the Division’s offices are prepared to respond with personnel and resources, in the event of tropical weather.

New York State Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond to the weather event with nearly 3,500 operators and supervisors available statewide. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,391 large dump trucks
  • 316 large loaders
  • 85 chippers
  • 81 wheeled and tracked excavators
  • 30 traffic tower platforms
  • 18 vacuum trucks with sewer jets
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks

Thruway Authority
Thruway Authority staff is closely monitoring the weather forecast and is proactively inspecting storm drains across the system, ensuring equipment is ready to respond to any wind or flood related issues, as well as checking rock slopes in areas that are expecting heavy rain. The Thruway Authority has 653 operators and supervisors prepared with small to medium sized excavators, plow/dump trucks, large loaders, portable VMS boards, portable light towers, smaller generators, smaller pumps and equipment hauling trailers, as well as signage and other traffic control devices available for any detours or closures. Variable Message Signs and social media are utilized to alert motorists of real time weather conditions on the Thruway.

The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to live traffic cameras, real-time traffic information and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway, follow @ThruwayTraffic on X (Formally Twitter), and visit thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are monitoring the developing situation and weather forecasts and will actively patrol areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather. All available assets, including swift water rescue teams, will be positioned to assist with any emergency response.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Park visitors should visit parks.ny.gov, check the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

Department of Public Service
New York's utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts across New York State for this event. Agency staff will track utilities' work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact.

New York State Police
State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers, as needed, to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closely monitoring weather conditions and will be ready to take necessary precautions to ensure safe, reliable service. MTA employees will be poised to respond to any weather-related issues and remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks. Customers are encouraged to check new.mta.info for the latest service updates. Customers should also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA's apps: MYmta and TrainTime. Additionally, MTA Bridges and Tunnels is coordinating with regional roadway partners, has prepared facilities for storm impacts, and is ready to respond to keep crossings safe for customers.

Port Authority
The Port Authority is monitoring weather conditions. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges, as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers through the Port Authority's facilities are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations.

For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps, including RidePATH which provides real-time updates and alerts for PATH service.

Hurricane Safety Tips for New Yorkers

All New Yorkers should know how to track tropical storms and receive timely alerts that let them know what they need to do to stay safe, including evacuation. The best way to receive timely weather alerts is by signing up for NY-Alert, a free service that provides weather and other emergency-related alerts.

Take the following steps to ensure you and your loved ones are protected:

  • Develop a household disaster plan and know how to contact family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the "emergency family contact" and make certain all family members have the contact info.
  • Designate an emergency meeting spot - a familiar location where family can meet if the residence cannot be accessed.
  • Know hurricane and storm risks in your community.
  • If you live near coastal areas, learn about your area's storm surge history and your community's warning signals and evacuation plans, including safe routes inland and the location of official shelters.
  • Know where to relocate pets during a storm - most shelters will not allow pets.
  • Keep the following supplies on-hand:
  • Enough non-perishable food and water supplies for 10 days.
  • Battery-operated radios and flashlights and an ample supply of batteries.
  • A first aid with supply of medicines.
  • Important documents: Insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. in a waterproof container.
  • Cash, checkbook, credit cards and ATM cards.
  • An emergency contact list of people and organizations who may need to be called: schools, doctors, providers, and insurance contacts.
  • Take the following preventative measures:
  • Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
  • Repair loose and clear clogged rain gutters and down spouts.
  • Secure or bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects such as garbage cans and garden tools that could become projectiles in high winds. Also keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
  • Review insurance policies to determine extent of coverage before a storm strikes.
  • Determine where to move boats in an emergency.
  • Be aware of local weather conditions by listening to National Weather Service broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radio and reports from local television and radio stations.
  • Know how to turn off the power, heat and water at home.

About the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination, and support to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters and other emergencies. For more information, follow @NYSDHSES on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter) or visit dhses.ny.gov.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

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